The ten best concerts in Denver this week
4. BEN FOLDS FIVE @ OGDEN THEATRE | WEDS, 1/23/13
Ben Folds is probably most vividly remembered for his work in the '90s, when he seemed to come out of nowhere with his impassioned piano-based pop and a string of hits including "Brick." But by then, Folds was a veteran musician who had honed his skills as a multi-instrumentalist before moving from his native North Carolina to Nashville. That background could explain why his songwriting has more depth than that of many other singer-songwriters. Folds also became a well-known producer with a knack for trying crazy yet creative ideas, such as bringing Adrian Belew and Henry Rollins in to record on a William Shatner song a few years back. On last year's The Sound of the Life of the Mind, Folds sounds more charged-up than ever.
3. BLOC PARTY @ OGDEN THEATRE | TUES, 1/22/13
For Bloc Party, the smashing success of 2005's Silent Alarm could have sealed its fate, time-stamped it as a post-Strokes dance-rock band strapped tight to an expired decade. But the U.K. quartet pushed through, continuing to find subtle triumphs, its catchy post-punk style shining through on two more stylistically steady releases, the critic-polarizing A Weekend in the City and Intimacy. In 2009, the group went on hiatus, and lead singer Kele Okereke stepped out on his own as a solo artist. But Bloc Party returned in the summer of 2012 with the aptly titled Four, a raucous record that gave the traditional rock band a new rhythmic dynamism in which co-founder Russell Lissack's guitar work got heavier, channeling a Siamese Dream-era Billy Corgan. But perhaps the most defining aspect of the act's jagged and catchy sound was Okereke's vocals, which have undergone a makeover, as well: His token sassy sing-talking style is still there, but his range and strength have matured pleasantly.
2. DISCO BISCUITS @ BOULDER THEATER // OGDEN THEATRE | 1/24-1/25
Fresh off their Mayan Holidaze run in Mexico, the Disco Biscuits bring their Winter Inferno to Colorado for three nights of laserific goodness (the outfit is also due at 1STBANK Center on Saturday, January 26). Nearing its second decade of existence, the Philadelphia-based act has finally settled in the role as one of the most sought after jam bands still touring. When the quintet, which is known for improvised renditions of their own complex songs, steps on stage, you never know if the journey is going to find the Biscuits exploring the depths of their creativity or ambling through their seemingly endless catalog of studio gems. Adding Colorado's GRiZ and Michal Menert to the culminating third night of Winter Inferno, the Biscuits are set to kick 2013 off right with the most rabid fan base the group has ever seen.